WILLET T, BLACKLOCK TAKE OATHS OF OFFICE Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett was swor n in to the 5th U.S. Circuit Cour t of Appeals and James Davis Blacklock was sworn in as Willett’s replacement on the Texas Supreme Court on January 2 in Austin. Willett, who was nominated to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Donald J. Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, took the oath of office from Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. “A st rong judiciary is indeed essential to a st rong state and to a st rong United States,” Willett said in remarks after taking the oath of office. “My title today has changed from justice to judge, but my task has not—judging according to the rule of law, a sacred trust.” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn gave remarks to the guests in attendance, which included some members of the 5th Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Cour t of Criminal Appeals, and friends and family. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Blacklock, who most recently served as his general counsel, to the Supreme Court. Above left: Judge Don Willett delivers remarks after taking the oath of office for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Above right: Justice James Davis Blacklock speaks after taking the oath of office for the Texas Supreme Court. MICHAEL K. HURST ELECTED DBA PRESIDENT Michael K. Hurst, a litigation attorney and named partner in Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst, was elected president of the Dallas Bar Association. Hurst was elected chair of the Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors in 2014. He has served as chair on various bar association commit tees and sections, including the Bylaws, Judicial Investiture, and Peer Assistance committees and the Trial Skills Section. Hurst was also co-chair of the 2013-2014 Equal Access to Justice Campaign, which funds the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program that provides free legal assistance to low-income families and individuals. Other officers serving on the board include Laura Benitez Geisler, of the Geisler Law Firm, as president-elect; Robert Tobey, of Johnston Tobey Baruch, as first vice president; A aron Tobin, of Condon Tobin Sladek Thornton, as second vice presid ent; Vicki Blanton, of AT&T, as secretary-treasurer; and Rob Crain, of Crain Lewis Brogdon, as immediate past president. ROBERT DOGGETT NAMED NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TRLA Robert Doggett succeeded David Hall as the executive director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in January. Doggett has spent 27 years litigating precedent-setting cases for TRLA and other legal aid groups as a general counsel. Hall led TRLA through its 40-year development, serving about 25,000 Texans each year. For more information about TRLA and its services, go to trla.org. Andrew Oldham appointed to the Texas Access to Justice Commission Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Andrew Oldham as liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission. Oldham is currently general counsel to the governor, advising him on federal and state law issues, as well as managing litigation in which he is an interested party. He previously worked with Abbott, then the attorney general, as a deputy solicitor general and represented Texas in federal courts. “Mr. Oldham is a brilliantly talented lawyer and has experience at many levels of both state and federal governments,” said Commission Chair Harry M. Reasoner in a press release. “We look forward to his contributions on achieving access to justice in Texas.” For more information about the Texas Access to Justice Commission, go to texasatj.org. Entries sought for 2018 Texas Gavel Awards Submissions are sought for the 2018 Texas Gavel Awards, which honor outstanding journalism that fosters public understanding of the legal system. Entries published or broadcast during 2017 will be accepted for print, broadcast, and online categories until 5 p.m. March 30. The awards recognize excellence in journalism that educates the public about the rule of law, the legal profession, and the judicial branch of government; and discloses practices or procedures needing correction to improve the practice of law, the courts, or the justice system. The awards will be presented at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas’ annual conference in September. To view eligibility requirements, submission guidelines, and submit an entry, go to texasbar.com/gavelawards. SABA launches Project Rise with Texas Bar Foundation grant The San Antonio Bar Association and San Antonio Bar Foundation launched Project RISE: Rebranding, Innovation, Success & Experience, an initiative to streamline communications and improve the customer experience. Project RISE is a multi-year strategy set in phases, with the first funded in part by a $7,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. During this phase, SABA staff will be equipped with tools and infrastructure needed to breathe new life into existing programs while planning and implementing new ones.
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